Kaiser Health Tracking Poll — May 2011
Most Americans oppose the idea of converting Medicaid to block grant financing to reduce the federal deficit, and more than half want to see no reductions at all in Medicaid spending. One in five adults has received Medicaid benefits over time, and for most, experiences were positive, although one third of them report having had problems finding a doctor.
The findings come at a time of intense public debate in Washington about the future of entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid as policymakers attempt to address rising public concerns about the federal deficit. While conventional wisdom and recent public opinion polling has suggested that dramatic changes in Medicare would be politically unpopular, the poll findings illustrate that major alterations to Medicaid also could strike a negative chord with many Americans.
Support for maintaining the current program may be due at least in part to the public’s personal connections to Medicaid and a strong sense of the program’s importance. About half of Americans say they or a friend or family member has received Medicaid assistance at some point, and a similar share say the program is important to their family.
The May poll is the latest in a series designed and analyzed by the Foundation’s public opinion research team.